It's all over - or is it? Cristian Ronaldo announced a couple of days ago that he has decided to stay at Manchester United, ending the long-running rumours about a possible move to Real Madrid. Strangely though Madrid president Ramón Calderón still believes he has a chance of signing him, rather like the Black Knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail who refused to give in even when he had both arms and legs cut off. Sir Alex is a formidable knight to take on, but does Calderón have a dagger hidden in his teeth? There has been talk of a Figo-like pre-contract which would require Ronaldo to pay a big penalty clause if he doesn't sign, and other reports say that there is an agreement for the player to join next season. In any case Calderón said he would be contacting the Glazers next week, so we have to wait and see.
Assuming however that the saga has ended, Madrid will have to turn to their plan B. Rafa Van der Vaart is their only signing to date, but the Spanish press are rolling out a long list of names, including David Villa, Eto'o, Benzema, Kaká, Diego and Huntelaar. Villa and Eto'o look like they will be staying put though, Valencia's new president eager to hold on to as many of his stars as possible, and Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola reportedly deciding that the Cameroonian striker (who has showed a postive attitude since his return from vacation) is at least as good as anyone on the market right now. Who may be moving to the Nou Camp in the near future is Valencia's David Silva, who could be sold to raise much needed funds. Although many clubs are bidding for him, including Manchester United, Roma and Atlético Madrid, Silva has apparently said that, if he does have to move on, it would only be to Barça. (10.08.08)